Article 15 of Indian Constitution
Article 15 of the Indian Constitution prohibits discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. India recognises a total of 22 languages, as stated in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution. Despite Hindi and English being the country’s official languages, more than 1,500 other languages are spoken there. About 44.63 per cent of Indians speak Hindi as their first language. Diverse viewpoints frequently lead to conflicts, and such conflicts may lead to prejudice.
One of the main reasons for discrimination in India is caste prejudice, which is still prevalent in some areas. Caste systems, both lower and higher, used to be the predominant method of dividing society. There had been untouchability for the lower classes. India recently made this law illegal due to how terrible it is.
Read More: Article 14 of Indian Constitution
Article 15 of Indian Constitution Provisions
Article 15 has been desperately needed since the Constitution’s adoption and is still in place. Six clauses in Article 15 of Indian Constitution list the many forms of discrimination that are categorically prohibited.
|Article 15 Clause||Provisions|
|Article 15(1)||It provides that the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.|
|Article 15(2)||It states that no citizen shall be subjected to any disability, liability, restriction or condition on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth with regard to:
Access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment venues;
The usage of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, highways, and public resort locations that are totally or partially supported by state funding or intended for wide public use.
Read More: Articles 12 and 13
Article 15 of Indian Constitution Exceptions
Article 15 (3): The state may provide any particular provisions for women and children. For instance, giving children free education or reserving seats for women in local councils. The Supreme Court held in Revathi v. Union of India, AIR 1998, that the word “for” used in this clause indicated that states can provide women and children special preference while not discriminating against them.
Article 15 (4): The state is permitted to make any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. For instance, public educational institutions may offer fee discounts or seat reservations. This provision was added by the first Amendment Act, of 1951.
Article 15 (5): The state has the authority to make any special arrangements for the advancement of any socially and educationally disadvantaged classes of citizens, as well as for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, regarding their admission to educational institutions, including private educational institutions, whether state aid it or not, minority educational institutions are an exception of it.
The 93rd Constitutional Amendment Act of 2005 added it. The 93rd Constitutional Amendment Act of 2005 was upheld as legitimate by the Supreme Court in the case of Ashok Kumar Thakur v. Union of India, 2008.
Article 15 (6): The state is empowered to make any special provision for the advancement of any economically weaker sections of citizens. Additionally, the state is permitted to make a provision for the reservation of up to 10% of seats for these sections when it comes to admission to educational institutions, including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the state, with the exception of minority educational institutions.
In addition to the current reservations, this reservation of up to 10% would be made. According to family income and other indices of economic disadvantage, the state would periodically notify the economically weaker sectors for this reason. The 103rd Amendment Act of 2019 adds it.
Read More: Right to Equality
Article 15 of Indian Constitution Reservation for OBC
In order to give effect to Article. 15 (5), The Centre passed the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006, which established a 27% quota for applicants from Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in all central higher educational institutions, including the IITs and IIMs.
Here it should be noted that the children of the following different categories of people belong to the ‘creamy layer’ among OBCs and thus will not get the quota benefit:
- Constitutional Posts: Persons holding constitutional posts like President, Vice-president, Judges of SC and HCs, Chairman and Members of UPSC and SPSCs, CEC, CAG and so on.
- Officers: Group ‘A’ / Class I and Group ‘B’ / Class II Officers of the All India, Central and State Services; and Employees holding equivalent posts in PSUs, Banks etc., and also in private employment.
- Top-ranked army officers: Persons who are in the rank of colonel and above in the Army and equivalent posts in the Navy, the Air Force, and the Paramilitary Forces.
- Other Professions: Professionals like doctors, lawyers, engineers, artists, authors, consultants and so on. Persons engaged in trade, business and industry.
- Agricultural land: People holding agricultural land above a certain limit and vacant land or buildings in urban areas.
- Annual Income: Persons having a gross annual income of more than ₹8 lahks or possessing wealth above the exemption limit. It was Rs. 1 lakh when the “creamy layer” ceiling was first introduced in 1993. Later, it was changed to Rs. 2.5 lakh in 2004, Rs. 4.5 lakh in 2008, Rs. 6 lahks in 2013, and Rs. 8 lahks in 2017.
Read about: Important Articles of Indian Constitution
Article 15 of Indian Constitution Reservation for EWS
In order to give effect to Article 15 (6), the central government issued an order in 2019, to provide 10% reservation to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWSs) in admission to educational institutions. The benefit of this reservation is available to EWS members who are not covered by any of the SC, ST, or OBC reservation programmes currently in place. The following are the requirements for eligibility set forth in this regard:
- Annual Income: Persons whose family has a gross annual income below ₹8 lahks are to be identified as EWSs for the benefit of reservation. The income would be for the financial year prior to the year of application and would comprise income from all sources, such as salaries, businesses, professions, and agriculture.
- Possession of Asset: Persons whose family owns or possesses any one of the following assets are to be excluded from being identified as EWSs, irrespective of the family income; first, Agricultural land of 5 acres and above; second, residential flat of 1000 sq. ft. and above; third, Residential plots of 100 sq. yards and above in notified municipalities.
- Determination of Property: The property held by a family in different locations or different places/cities would be clubbed while applying the land or property holding test to determine EWS status.
- Definition of Family: For this purpose, the individual requesting the benefit of the reservation, his or her parents, siblings, and children under the age of 18 are all considered members of the individual’s immediate family.
Read More: Salient Features of Constitution of India
Article 15 of Indian Constitution UPSC
Article 15 has helped Indian society to stand tall and proud despite such great diversity and all forms of sexism, racism, and rigid caste system, and it will continue to do so forever. It is truly the protector of the oppressed and a shield against prejudice.
It is significant to note that Article 15 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, gender, or place of birth in all circumstances. People have been discriminated against in several ways throughout history, and the term discrimination covers a broad variety of topics.